Saturday, 29 May 2010

And now I'm really annoyed

So... for a while now at the August Institution that employs me, I have spent the nanosecond that is laughingly referred to as a "Lunch Break" by reading some blogs I follow, and some I don't .. it's a harmless way to waste a bit of time, and I have even, on the odd occasion, posted a note here from the office.  There's no harm in it, as far as I can see... however...

They have now blocked access to blogs, particularly those which are hosted by Typepad, Blogspot, Blogger, LiveJournal or MySpace.  OK, so I understand about the social networking sites, I really do.  But the blogs?  What possible harm can there be from reading about Felicity & her ongoing adventure in the Kimberley?  What damage can Sharon Lee & Steve Miller possibly do to a huge filthy rich multi-national August Institution?   I'm cross, gentle readers, very cross.

Of course, my cross-ness may have something to do with the 51 hours I worked there last week, but then again, perhaps not.  I might just be a cross person who's found something new to whinge about, but I don't think so.  I like to think I'm generally upbeat & cheerful, but I'll admit to being quite vocal if I'm unhappy about something.  I am not like a lot of Aussies who will suffer stoically, internalising all rage and taking it all out on the cat/dog/child/spouse/ colleagues/opposition leader/football referees.  Really.  No, really.

Anyway, on a happier note, these were waiting for me when I got home - I love to come home to a parcel of fabric on the doorstep!

Japanese Fabric - Writing on Cotton Linen Fabric - Half Yard

Japanese Fabric - Blue Elephants on White - Half Yard

Red, White and Blue Dots - Japanese Trim - One Yard

And the second best thing about buying from Japan?  6 days turnaround.  Fabulous!  When I've made something gorgeous with this, I'll post some pictures.  Honest.

And now, gentle reader, I am going off to the Small But Perfectly Formed room to finish the pouches for my WMIL*.

And I have news, exciting news, but I can't tell you yet.  Although, given that where I work has blocked access to blogs, maybe I can**!

*Wonderful Mother-In-Law
**I'm moving to work in the City!  Shhhh!

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Spending the day in your pyjamas is...

very enjoyable, actually.  Sunday, it was cold & rainy.  Fascinating details of my day follow, so you may want to tune out here & come back some other time...

I got up early (7.00am), had breakfast, read Saturday's paper, did a bit of pottering to clean up from Saturday night's dinner with Nephew (and friend), went back to bed & read a bit, then got up again & tidied the Small But Perfectly Formed room - there's a limit to the amount of mess I can stand, y'know?  I can live with it for a while, but then, BAM!  I have to clean up.  I bought a bunch of magazine boxes (what are those things actually called, anyway?) from Ikea a while ago & started to sift through the two large piles of magazines on the living room floor, I moved all the crap off my sewing table, I even shifted some fabric around to make room here and there for the accumulated Holiday treasure...

Then I sewed.  I made the previously discussed pouch for Miss Jerry, using this from here:

JANE ST Pink Pastel Stripe Fabric 1 yd

And this, from here:

Michael Miller Quilt Pirates Pink, 1 yard, Really Cool fabric, buy yours now, it will sell out quick.

with a co-ordinating blue zip, and blue ribbon, just to keep it from being too 'dark'.  She's only seven!

And then I took it to work for the lovely buyer, without taking any photos.  Oh well, you get the idea.

I also cut out two flat pouches from this, which I love:

Echino decorator print - 1 yard cream Tiger on Flower oh, now, see, blogger is doing that stupid thing again where it won't put the pictures in the middle.  I hate this. 

Anyway, I'm lining the pouches with this, from here:

Michael Miller Fabric, Ta Dot, Sea, 1 Yard, which, amazingly, is the exact colour of the turquoise on the linen.  Nice, huh?  Pictures, I promise. 

And now, gentle readers, because it is 2.57AM, and I have to be up at 5.30AM, I'm going back to bed, for another attempt at sleep.  Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye... 

Friday, 21 May 2010


It's raining!  That means... sewing tomorrow!

I've got some orders, two flat pouches for my lovely WMIL*, and my friend Yvette wants a pouch for her young friend Jerry, as in "Tom and...", with her name on it - she's seven, and apparently much absorbed by co-ordinating her little seven-year-old wardrobe - so much pink and black has been called for, with loud and lairy lining.

So... I'm going to dig into the stash, and see what I can find.  Shouldn't be too hard... remember this?  I bought it just before we went away...



Amy Butler Lotus  Yard Bundle (2 Yds Total)  Lacework and Star Paisley - LAST ONE


new patchwork piggies bundle from kokka- japan- half yards

and for Miss Jerry...

circles and buttons fabric / 16x22 inches / fq or  Babushka Wonderland Fabric -- 1 METER / 1.094 yards ??????

Have a great one, Gentle Readers...

*Wonderful Mother-In-Law

Thursday, 20 May 2010


Shoulda guessed it wouldn't last, shouldn't I?  I've been doing the commute, you know, out to the arse-end of nowhere every day, leaving home at 6.30am, waiting for the bus, getting to the office between 8.00am & 9.00am, and leaving bang on the dot of 4.20pm, because I have to get the bus - ha!  It's been fantastic.  There's a nice man who drives us, seats, warmth, music (yesterday we had one of my favourites, Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue) and good conversation with the man next to me who has an uncanny resemblance to Uncle Fester, (but I don't have the heart to ask if he's part of the Addams family...)

Anyway, as part of my punishment for having a holiday (that's a joke, I think!), I've been given oversight on a project which has been running for about a year, has had several project managers, is running massively late, and overbudget, has at least 66 major changes needed to get it into line with what was originally requested, and only two under-resourced and overworked BA's.

So, today, I drove to work, arriving at 7.15am, and left tonight at 7.11pm.  Knew it wouldn't last....

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Oh, all right then...

The lovely AJ who frequently comments on my blog (so nice to know somebody else is out there...) as "A Peppermint Penguin" has begged, nay, implored me, to reveal what I actually bought in the fabulous Bassetti Tessuti shop in Rome... as she is a discerning woman of some refinement, how could I refuse?

Just a word of warning - if you aren't a fabric maven, or have even a slight interest in fabric, you might want to go away and come back another day...

So, here goes...

The gorgeous lilac silk jersey, next to an envelope so you can see the colour - I just realised it's exactly the colour of my kitchen cupboards!

A large remnant of shirting, 100% cotton, with gorgeous pique stripes and a tiny weeny darker stripe on either side, just to give the white stripes some oooomph...

The palest of pale lilac shirting, in a really fine pique.  Very soft.

A kind of weird choice, really, neither vibrant nor traditional... but I liked the colours - it's a sort of rough cotton, I don't really know what the name of it is.  Just enough for crafty things, I think.  I don't think I'd be seen dead wearing it!

And then, shirting in a really pale pink herringbone, excuse the shadow in the bottom of the picture...

Also a crafty choice - it had such a '60's look I couldn't resist - I'm sure my mother had a dress made of this in about 1964...

And then, a lovely crisp cotton, a bit heavier than shirting, with a sort of Japanese-y feel to it... I have no idea what I'm going to do with this!

And then, just a tad more shirting, in a pale pink, with a nice white square (is that, strictly speaking, a check?  I need to check my Fairchild's Dictionary of Fashion, I think.

And finally, the piece de resistance, or 'piatta forte', which Babelfish tells me is the correct interpretation of the French, the Houndstooth silk:

You can see from this that it's actually black and cream, not black and white - but it is still gorgeous!

Sadly, that's it.  If I'd only had more time, a shipping crate, another ten credit cards and a more willing husband, then I could have bought more, so some of you are probably quite pleased I had none of those things.  

Me, I'm already thinking about my next trip, and how I can survive a month in Europe with only 2 days worth of clothes to make extra room in my suitcase!!! 

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

The Final Trip Tease

So... finally, the best bit of my Trip Tease...

I found the most amazing fabric shop in Rome.  I lucked into it, an aside in an old guide-book led me to think it might be worth checking out, and I saw this article when I did a bit of research on the Fancy Young People's Internet (thank you Tony Squires) - and OMG, was it ever amazing!

I have never seen so much fabric in one place in my life.  Honestly.  I've been to Liberty in London (mostly pretty but boring), fabric shops tucked away in the East End of London where I was studiously ignored because, the shop owners told me afterwards, they couldn't believe a white person would be interested in buying African fabric, shops where my Vietnamese friend helped me get the best cash-only deals, shops where every single fabric was made from some artificial fibre or other, shops where I couldn't afford to buy 20cm, let alone 3 metres, Spotlight, Lincraft, you name it.  I have never seen so much fabric in one place in my life.  Oh, did I already say that?  Yep.  But it was worth saying again:

So, I'm 168cm tall, that's 5'6" in old money.  This photo was taken at my eye level, and the rack goes all the way up to the ceiling - maybe 20'/3 metres?  

We must have wandered through 10 rooms, and apparently, there are two floors.  I must admit I didn't take pictures of the suiting, the sheeting, the linings, the Chanel-y type wools, the upholstery fabrics, the denims, the stretch fabrics, the knits, the damasks, the laces, the wedding fabrics, the sequinned masterpieces, the handpainted silks, the hand-embroidered silks and satins, the velvets, the really nasty shiny vinyls, the viscoses, polyesters and even nasty nylons, but I couldn't resist the shirting:

This rack also went up to the ceiling, and you must admit, my helper does have a great arse.  Oops.  That just slipped out, honest.  Can you believe how many different blue shirtings there are?  They had every colour you could think of - from white to black with every shade in between, pique, pin-striped, checked and spots.  Man, it was difficult to choose, but I did.  Trust me.

I also bought some beautiful lilac coloured silk jersey, don't ask me what I'm going to do with that, and some exquisite silk with a tiny tiny Houndstooth print, with fantastic drape, which would be perfect for a cowl neck blouse and I have just the pattern, Butterick B4132...

For the shirting, I'll probably use this pattern, or something similar. Ah, joy.  Nice to be able to feed the addiction...

And that's it for the holiday.  Admittedly there were other events, other venues, other meals and other locations, but I'm sure you're as sick of reading about it as I am of writing about it.  I'm going to bore you rigid now with planning my next one, in 2013, just in time for our 20th Wedding Anniversary.  Any suggestions?



Was it something I said?

I note that between going on holidays and coming back I lost a follower... was it something I said, or more the fact that I've kind of morphed away from burbling on about the crafty things I make, and am now just burbling along???

Just wondering.  

Anyway, if you do still drop by from time to time, just to check if things have returned to their crafty origins, please leave me a note saying why you stopped following... as a novice blogger (but master-burbler), I want to make sure you keep reading by writing exactly what you want to read.  Actually, that's a load of crap, but it might make you feel better?  Maybe?

But I digress (no surprises there...) - we were lucky enough to spend the weekend with our lovely friends Kaz & Az, where we spent a very relaxing weekend eating, drinking and the odd spot of nature-watching:

All left behind by the wildlife living in the reeds...

Damn but birds are hard to photograph!  Can't say the same about Zoe Dog, who just has a knack for knowing when to stand still and look gorgeous!

And in the garden, the three stages of the Rose's life:

and we met this little cutie:

and I didn't even take the sewing machine, fabric or zippers with me - how very slothful! 

Monday, 17 May 2010

Whilst you were sleeping...

 Whoever said "English food is crap" has never eaten here, where we had a fantastic lunch in Hove in the company of some people who were purportedly locally and internationally famous*, but can't really have been, because there was no minder, no bling, no mobile phones, no entourage & no tantrums.  

We wandered up & down the seafront, reminding ourselves about the bygone beauty and tragically lost opportunity of the West Pier, and admired the bathing huts - what a typically ingenious English use of space - kettle, chairs, table, umbrella...

and we admired the English determination to soak up every last ray:

What a hoot - sound asleep in the midday sun - at home he'd be burnt to a crisp in about 3 minutes.

And we went to Beachy Head, where I very gingerly stuck my head over the edge & looked down - ooh, nasty:

That's about 300 metres down, Gentle Readers.

And then we went to the site of the Battle of Hastings, which, interestingly, is in Battle.  We walked round the entire site, and it's really hard to see how the Normans could have won, given that the English had the advantage of home ground, higher ground, and the moral imperative...

The battle was nearly 1000 years ago, and it was hard to imagine such violence in such a beautiful place..

Unimaginably, the Abbey which was raised on the site, and finished in about 1094, was allowed to be partially destroyed during Henry VIII's "Dissolution of the Monasteries" in the 15th Century, but the ruins are very picturesque.

And they sell great teatowels in the shop!

*Edited to add, JUST for AJ - *Norman Cook, AKA Fatboy Slim

Sunday, 16 May 2010

The Traveller's Tale

 And our trip went like this:

Rome-Milan (3.5 hours)

An hour wait in Milano for the connecting train to depart (lucky we could wait on the train!), then Milano-Ventimiglia (4 hours)

A 45 minute wait in Ventimiglia for the connecting train, spent entirely in the Ventimiglia ticket office, and I was so rushed I forgot to validate the tickets (Come & get me, Mr Train Police!) which were sold by a lovely man with excellent English... and why do I mention this?  Ah, patience, patience.  

Ventimiglia-Nice Ville (50 mins).  The suburban trains that run between Ventimiglia and Nice are amazing, with glass doors, fabric covered seats and entire sections set aside for travellers with other needs, such as, old people, mums with babies, and other niceties that wouldn't last a day on the Sydney train system.  Clean, shiny and no graffiti, either.

In Nice, we tried to sort out the problem caused by Mr G's wallet being stolen in Rome, which was the fact that the Credit Card used to buy the train tickets from Paris to Dieppe, had been stolen, and so we couldn't get them out of the vending machine (which had been our intention during our nice 3 hour wait in Nice).  Mr G likes to be prepared, doncha know. 

An incredibly rude man in the information window handled our request for information, in my extremely limited French, by pointing to the ticket window, then lowering his head and ignoring every other word that came out of my mouth.  Luckily, the woman at the ticket window was incredibly nice, and she cancelled our original tickets and replaced them with two new ones, at very short notice.  Talk about the sublime to the ridiculous!
The rest of the 3 hour wait in Nice was spent in the bar devouring our meal of the day, two panino with ham, mozarella & tomato, and coffee, and beer for Mr G.  The Nice Ville-Paris (5 hours odd) trip was on a 300kph TGV, and it was amazingly comfortable.  I fell asleep on the train, with my feet up on Mr Golightly's seat, and my raincoat for a blanket.  Smooth as... and quick - we traversed the entire 900km in five hours. 

We didn't see a lot of Paris, but I took some photos from the taxi which took us from Gare De Lyon to Gare Du Nord, and yes, I know you're going to say "why didn't you take the famous Paris Metro?"  Well, gentle reader, I'd had an 18 hour day, about 7 hours sleep (which is definitely not enough, trust me), and the sure and certain knowledge of another long day travelling) was enough to make me forgo the experience of yet another metro, in a language with which I have no absolutely no facility... apart from "please" and "thank you"... so, we took a taxi.

The train to Dieppe was fairly full until Rouen, and then we had the whole carriage to ourselves - nearly as bizarre an experience as the time we went to see the latest Star Trek movie in our local cinema and we were the only people in there...

And then, we got to Dieppe.  It is apparently a nice town, with some good restaurants, and some interesting buildings.  But, as we couldn't find anywhere to leave our suitcases, we had to sit in the Ferry Terminal for five stinking hours, waiting for the boat to Newhaven. What an absolute waste of a day.  However, it was unavoidable - frustratingly unavoidable - how hard would it be to offer a secure facility at the Ferry Terminal so that people could  dump their bags & go back to town for a few hours?  Too hard, apparently.  

We did have a rather nice Croque-Monsieur each, at Dieppe, and Mr G played a couple of games of pool and learned some Greek swear words from a nice Cypriot boy who was going back to Brighton to study... then we got on the boat, and sailed, and sailed, and sailed:

and then, finally, we were there!